And Now, the Whatever Official Product Solicitation Policy

Inasmuch as Athena wrote today about her experience at a spa, and has also launched an occasional series called Small Business Saturday, in which she talks about a small business whose products she has tried and enjoyed, and because I also review things here from time to time (mostly tech, but other things too), I think it’s both useful and transparent for Whatever to have an Official Product Solicitation Policy. It is thus:

1. As a rule, we have not and will not ask companies, large or small, for free stuff and/or for compensation (money or otherwise) for product appearances here.* Why? One, to avoid the impression of a “quid pro quo” set up when we talk about products. Two, because philosophically, and particularly regarding small businesses, we believe supporting businesses and creators starts with paying them for their work and product. Three, life’s too short to be one of those “Hey! Give us this thing for free! We’ll give you exposure!” people.

2. That said, if companies wish for one of us to consider featuring their product here, and want to send it to us, the site has a policy on how to do that. Please note that unless there is prior agreement on our end to note or review the product/material, your sending things for our consideration does not oblige us to note or review it. Note also that as a general rule we do not typically give that prior agreement.

3. Likewise, at no point will we agree to give anything we are sent a positive review or notice. If we like something, we’ll say so. If we don’t, we’ll say that too (more likely if we don’t like it, we just won’t note it at all).

4. If and when we note or review something that is sent to us for free and/or we accept compensation (via travel, lodging, etc) as part of a feature/review, we will disclose that, both for the purposes of transparency, and to avoid running afoul of various laws in various jurisdictions that require such disclosure. This disclosure policy will include the swag we are sent by PR companies, promoting other companies’ product. If we post about it, we’ll disclose where it came from.

The short version is: We don’t ask for stuff, but it’s okay if you send it, just don’t expect us to feel obliged if you do, and if we do anything with it, we’ll note publicly how and from whom we go it.

— JS

* Note that with regard to The Big Idea feature, I do ask the folks asking to do a feature to send a copy of the book, in order to have it on hand for reference. I do not, however, penalize the writer if the book does not arrive (or does not arrive in time for the feature).

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